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EMERGING MARKETS-Philippine, Malaysian shares fall; markets eye U.S. data

    * Manila stocks fall more than 1%
    * China services activity growth slows in May
    * Investors long on most Asian currencies - Reuters poll
    * Thai markets shut for holiday

    By Sameer Manekar
    June 3 (Reuters) - Losses in Philippine and Malaysian stocks
stood out among broadly calm emerging Asian markets on Thursday,
while investors awaited U.S. economic data that could influence
how long the Federal Reserve maintains its dovish policy stance.
    Regional currencies were also largely muted, with the Taiwan
dollar making the most notable gain of 0.3%, as the
U.S. dollar wavered ahead of a weekly unemployment report
and monthly jobs data.
    If the data bolsters confidence in a strong U.S. economic
recovery it would further stir up talk of the Fed scaling back
support measures earlier than its forecast, which would unsettle
Asia's risk-sensitive markets.
    The Philippine bourse lost more than 1%, giving up
some ground after surging more than 3% in the previous session.
The peso was largely unchanged.
    In Malaysia, which is battling a surge in COVID-19 cases,
shares fell about half a percent as the nation recorded
its highest daily death toll since the start of the pandemic.

    The country's finance minister warned on Tuesday that its
2021 economic growth forecast could be lowered due to new curbs
to fight the spread of the virus, which analysts say could weigh
on debt instruments.
    If growth forecast is cut, "projected debt at end-2021 could
consequently need to be revised upwards and closer to the 60% of
GDP limit," said Duncan Tan, a strategist at Singapore-bank DBS.
    "That would bring to the fore the possibility of a second
increase in debt limit, which could then be viewed slightly
unfavourably by bond markets and credit rating agencies."
    Yields on Malaysia's 10-year benchmark bonds
were down marginally at 3.213% on Thursday.
    Meanwhile, the region's top trade partner China saw its
services sector expand at a slower pace in May compared with a
month ago due to weaker overseas demand and increasing costs for
businesses.
    The yuan, which influences South Korea's won and
Taiwan dollar due to their trade dependence, was largely
unchanged, trading in a narrow range since the central bank
intervened this week to temper the currency's rally.
    Separately, a Reuters poll showed bullish bets on the
Chinese yuan hit a near six-month high, and investors were long
on most Asian currencies as vaccination programs in the region
painted an optimistic picture despite a recent spike in
infections.
    
    HIGHLIGHTS:    
    ** Indonesia raises $3 bln from global Islamic bonds -
official
    ** Indonesian 10-year benchmark yields fall 3.2 basis points
to 6.417%
    ** Singapore grants China's Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine special
access

    ($1 = 31.1100 baht)
    
    
  Asia stock indexes and                            
 currencies at   0429 GMT                      
 COUNTRY  FX RIC        FX    FX  INDE  STOCK  STOCK
                     DAILY   YTD     X      S  S YTD
                         %     %        DAILY      %
                                            %  
 Japan               -0.14  -5.8  <.N2  0.47   5.95
                               8  25>          
 China    <CNY=CFX   -0.06  +2.2  <.SS   0.38   3.97
          S>                   4  EC>          
 India               +0.00  -0.0  <.NS   0.57  12.04
                               3  EI>          
 Indones             -0.10  -1.7  <.JK   0.16   1.04
 ia                            5  SE>          
 Malaysi             +0.05  -2.4  <.KL  -0.40  -2.19
 a                             5  SE>          
 Philipp             -0.02  +0.5  <.PS  -1.08  -5.21
 ines                          0  I>           
 S.Korea  <KRW=KFT   +0.13  -2.3  <.KS   0.96  13.29
          C>                   1  11>          
 Singapo             -0.02  -0.1  <.ST   0.13  11.30
 re                            2  I>           
 Taiwan              +0.26  +3.0  <.TW   0.54  17.14
                               2  II>          
 Thailan              0.00  -3.7  <.SE   0.00  11.61
 d                             9  TI>          
 

 (Reporting by Sameer Manekar in Bengaluru; Editing by Simon
Cameron-Moore)
  
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